THURSDAY: Virtual Job Launch for maritime careers

April 18th, 2021 at 9:41 pm Posted in Jobs, White Center news | No Comments »

King County Parks and other partners are presenting a virtual career-info event Thursday for teens and young adults interested in the maritime industry!

FREE Virtual Job Launch for ages 16 – 24 is coming up on Thursday, April 22 from 3-5 pm.

The Spring Job Launch Program features Pathways to Maritime Careers. Ages 16 – 24 are encouraged to join virtually through Zoom on Thursday, April 22, 2021 from 3 pm-5 pm. Participating Programs and Employers include South Seattle College/Vigor Maritime Shipyard Welding Program, Foss Maritime, Youth Maritime Collaborative, WA State Ferries and Seattle Maritime Academy. Partner Agencies include King County Parks White Center Teen Program, YouthSource, the YWCA, Job Source, and Communities of Opportunity.

Hear from employers, workers, and training programs about the many different jobs, internships, and career paths in the Maritime Industry in King County. The Maritime Industry incorporates a variety of land-based occupations in design, manufacturing, and boat repair, along with roles on the water, from engineering to vessel operations. The importance of maritime for both commercial trade and tourism results in stable, well-paying jobs, and an increase in retirements due to an aging workforce creates new career opportunities.

More details are available at joblaunch.eventbrite.com

That link is also where you’ll find the info for attending.

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WestSide Baby car-seat donation drive Saturday

April 13th, 2021 at 12:01 am Posted in How to Help, WestSide Baby, White Center news | No Comments »

(File photo: Stack of donated car seats from past WS Baby drive)

With your help, local nonprofit WestSide Baby works to help families keep babies safe, warm, clean, and dry. One important component of that: Car/booster seats for wee ones to ride in. On Saturday, WestSide Baby’s collecting them – and you can help even if you don’t have one to donate:

Donate your new or used car seat

Saturday, April 17, from 11 am-2 pm
White Center Hub & South Lake Union Branch

(or)
Purchase car seats to ship to us directly through our Amazon Wishlist

Car Seat Details
Donated seats MUST meet the following requirements:

For Infant Car Seats: Donated items must be at least 6 months from the expiration date. Expiration dates are typically 6 years after the manufacture date. This date is often located on either side or under the car seat on a sticker.

For Convertible/Combination/ Booster Car Seats: Donated items must be at least 1 year from the expiration date. Expiration dates are typically 6 years after the manufacture date. This date is often located on either side or under the car seat on a sticker.

Have not been in an accident. You will be asked to sign a waiver stating that this car seat has not been involved in a vehicle accident.

Have not been washed with harsh chemicals, like bleach. Although we love to receive clean items, bleaching the straps impacts the webbing, as it easily frays, allowing children to come out of the seat in a crash.

In addition, whenever possible, please visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission at www.cpsc.gov to quickly review whether your seat has been recalled. You may be surprised. Many issues can be addressed by ordering a part (usually free of charge from the manufacturer). This individual effort on your part allows us to move items safely and quickly.

Other ways to donate to WestSide Baby are here.

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TODAY: Pandemic info from King County – listen live!

April 12th, 2021 at 12:39 pm Posted in Coronavirus, King County, White Center news | 1 Comment »

The pandemic-update presentation from a King County rep at last week’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting included news of a regular “community partners” call, open to all. NHUAC president Liz Giba has sent info abut the call, which is happening at 4 pm today:

We have created a new link for our bi-weekly COVID-19 Community Partners’ Call and have extended the meeting by 15 minutes. Starting April 12th, the meeting will run from 4 pm-5 pm. The Community Partners’ call will now be Live Interpreted in Spanish and Somali. The Zoom link is below.

Join Public Health – Seattle & King County for local updates on the COVID-19 pandemic, recommendations for risk reduction, and information on COVID-19 vaccines. The webinar takes place every other Monday from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM on Zoom (schedule and link below). The next webinar is Monday, April 12th.

All are welcome, and the information is most helpful for staff and volunteers at nonprofits, businesses, and community-based organizations looking for resources and information on slowing the spread of COVID-19 in King County.

Live interpretation is provided in Spanish and Somali. Additional languages are available upon request.

One tap mobile:
US: +16699006833,,97016766517# or +13462487799,,97016766517#
Meeting URL:
https://kingcounty.zoom.us/j/97016766517
Meeting ID:
970 1676 6517
Join by Telephone 253-215-8782

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SCHOOLS: Spring break week begins

April 12th, 2021 at 12:52 am Posted in Highline School District, White Center news | No Comments »

Highline Public Schools are out all week for spring break. Middle- and high-school students will start hybrid learning the following week.

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FOLLOWUP: Ambaum crash suspect charged; fundraiser launched for victims’ children

April 9th, 2021 at 5:28 pm Posted in Crime, White Center news | No Comments »

The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has just filed five felony charges against 26-year-old Irene Plancarte-Bustos, arrested after the Ambaum crash that killed two people on Tuesday. The South Delridge resident is charged with two counts of vehicular homicide, two of hit-run, one of negligent driving. The charging documents say her 3 1/2-year-old son was in her car when she hit the victims’ car in the 11800 block of Ambaum, going about 60 mph in a 35 mph zone. He was not hurt. Deputies found her in the nearby mini-mart parking lot; she had not called 911 nor attempted to return to the crash scene, they said. Plancarte-Bustos, who has no known criminal record, remains in jail, bail set at $250,000.

Meantime, the victims are identified as a West Seattle couple, 38-year-old Kamel Dupuis-Perez and 35-year-old Lauren Dupuis-Perez, parents of two young children. Friends and family have set up this crowdfunding page to ensure the children’s educational (and other) expenses are covered.

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FOLLOWUP: $250,000 bail set for driver who deputies say caused double-fatal Ambaum crash

April 7th, 2021 at 5:32 pm Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news | 2 Comments »

More information this afternoon about the Ambaum crash that left two people dead on Tuesday just south of White Center. The woman blamed for causing the crash remains in jail, bail set at $250,000. She is 25 years old and court documents say she lives in West Seattle. Deputies say they found her in the Rainbow Mini-Mart parking lot, clearly intoxicated, and that she admitted to having been drinking. She told them she was driving home from her job on Beacon Hill and was “in a rush.” The documents say she was driving a white car and appeared to be “racing” a black car in the northbound lanes when she hit the blue car containing the victims, who spun into the path of oncoming southbound traffic. A red pickup’s driver was unable to stop in time to avoid hitting them. She faces possible charges of vehicular homicide and felony hit-run. The victims have not yet been publicly identified; the incident report describes them only as a man and a woman who appeared to be in their 30s.

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UPDATE: Crash at Ambaum/116th kills 2

April 6th, 2021 at 5:31 pm Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news | 7 Comments »

5:31 PM: Avoid Ambaum and 116th – King County Sheriff’s Office detectives are there investigating a two-car collision and they’re likely to be there a while. More when we get it.

6:38 PM: Just back from the scene, which is actually on Ambaum just south of 116th. In our photo, a King County Medical Examiner vehicle is at left. They are usually called in to investigate fatalities; KCSO is not confirming anything yet. Deputies at the scene told us the road should reopen soon; they were originally dispatched around 3:30 pm.

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: We followed up with KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Tim Meyer, who says, “Two lives were lost in this three-vehicle collision that began when the driver/suspect of a northbound (on Ambaum) sedan struck a hatchback, which caused it to rotate in front of a southbound pickup. It was the occupants of (the hatchback) who passed when they were stuck by the pickup. The suspect driver (sedan), who was believed to be impaired, was booked last night for two counts of vehicular homicide AND felony hit & run. The King County Sheriff’s Office MARR unit continues their investigation.”

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Crash in North Shorewood

April 5th, 2021 at 7:00 pm Posted in Shorewood, White Center news | 8 Comments »

Thanks for the tip about that crash at 26th/108th. Deputies told us at the scene that the driver hit a parked car and went up over the curb, stopped by a tree. No major injuries but the driver was being checked out by Tri-Med. No major traffic impact by the time we got there, either, and a tow truck had arrived.

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Camp Second Chance Community Advisory Committee meeting on second Sunday this month

April 3rd, 2021 at 11:11 pm Posted in Myers Way, White Center news | No Comments »

The Camp Second Chance Community Advisory Committee usually meets on the first Sunday of the month, but not this month – because of Easter, the meeting’s been pushed back to April 11th. 2 pm as usual, online – the video participation link is here, phone-in number is 253-215-8782; in either case, meeting ID 858 5523 4269 and passcode 9701.

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Pandemic, participatory budgeting, policing @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s April meeting

April 2nd, 2021 at 1:05 am Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news | 3 Comments »

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

Three King County guests with very different focuses were in the spotlight at this month’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting, held online Thursday night.

PANDEMIC: Becky Reitzes from Seattle-King County Public Health was the first guest of the night. She began by mentioning the “concerning” recent rise in cases. It could be the start of a fourth wave, county health officer Dr. Jeff Duchin has warned.

18-24 is the group with the highest increase in cases. They can pass it on – like to the 40-to-69 group that represents the biggest increase in hospitalizations. But the good news is that the vaccines are all working very well. Whichever shot is accessible to you is the one to get (unless for example getting two shots is going to be really difficult – say, someone experiencing housing instability – in which case the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine might be preferable).

Is there talk of rolling back reopening, to hold off that fourth wave? Reitzes said she’s sure there’s talk about it but nothing’s planned. “I’m hopeful people are going to get it together” and keep up precautions, she said.

She showed vaccination percentages from around the county and noted some stats showed above 100 percent because the baseline is old census data.

She also talked about the increase in eligibility, warning that availability still hasn’t caught up. “We do not anticipate an increase in dose in the next couple weeks, but after that,” things are likely to get better.

If you need telephone help with scheduling an appointment, there’s a hotline for that:

The county has lots of online help too:

Reitzes fielded a variety of questions, such as, if you have had COVID, can – and when should – you get vaccinated. One person said a relative had been told, wait three months. Reitzes said that is not necessarily good advice because they just do not know how long natural immunity lasts. How long will the vaccine-conferred immunity last? No one knows yet. How do you get an appointment? She advises trying your search early in the morning. Is the county hearing much about vaccine hesitancy? Not a lot, but, they do hear about misinformation being spread, which can contribute to that. They’re hearing much more about demand than hesitancy, she said. And even for those who are doubtful or skeptical, they see friends/family who got vaccinated, and that increases their comfort level.

KING COUNTY LOCAL SERVICES: Director John Taylor was back again this month. Main topic: Participatory budgeting. As reported here last week, the county is now recruiting for a Community Investment Committee to figure out how to spend the money set aside for this – $10 million. (Committee members will get some compensation, too.)

Gloria Briggs is a new coordinator hired for the effort, and she introduced herself. (She recently came to King County from Seattle City Light and said she has a long history of community advocacy.) Taylor continued, saying they’re in the midst of a push to get information out and already have received some applications but they want a really “robust” group. Once the committee is formed, here’s what happens:

He also mentioned the first-ever Community Needs List, which will be incorporated into the next two-year budget cycle. The $10 million will be a “down payment” on that, “a pilot for how we approach these Community Needs Lists.”

Q&A included – $10 million, five urban unincorporated areas, does that mean $2 million per area? No, said Taylor; most of the money will go to the biggest, most diverse areas – North Highline and Skyway. (There’s also an additional million-plus from marijuana taxes going entirely to those areas.) How many members on the committee? Probably 21.

As an aside to a question about roads funding, Taylor said the county is still in desperate need for more money on that: “There are very few things that keep me up at night, roads funding keeps me up at night.” So that is being brainstormed on a separate level.

KING COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE: Storefront deputy Bill Kennamer said a shooting outside a hookah lounge in Top Hat had two victims and is still under active investigation. He plans to contact the building owner to try to deal with recurring problems at that business. Crime stats are “still consistently down from last year.” He mentioned a robbery at a gas station on Roxbury in which the victim was uncooperative. He noted the Southgate Roller Rink takeover of the old Bank of America building on 17th SW is good news – one less vacant building. NHUAC board member Barbara Dobkin asked about recent drag racing, Kennamer said it’s a regional problem, with a group that keeps moving around “to where the police don’t expect them to be … They’re very difficult to track.” Could there be a regular KCSO presence on Roxbury to deter it? Kennamer noted that the racing happened around 1 am, and that’s when there are two deputies for all of unincorporated North Highline. But, he said, he can suggest an emphasis patrol. What about the nuisance house near 18th/100th? Right now it’s a code-enforcement issue, not a criminal issue. There’s apparently an open case; Local Services director Taylor promised to check on its status. Kennamer also said LEAD is finally on its way to White Center “and that hopefully will get some of our locals off the street.” He said he’s been talking to some vehicle dwellers near 15th and 104th and “they’re ready” to accept help.

KING COUNTY CONSERVATION CORPS: As reported here Tuesday, Taylor and King County Executive Dow Constantine joined them in cleanup work in White Center to showcase a proposal to expand the KCCC as part of pandemic–relief spending. Kennamer offered praise for the group, saying they’r doing great work.

KING COUNTY FRIDAY MEETINGS: NHUAC president Liz Giba recommended getting involved with these, noon every Friday. Info for participating/watching is on the Local Services home page.

NEXT MEETING: NHUAC meets first Thursdays, 7 pm, most months, so watch for info on the May 6th meeting when it gets closer.

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Fighting displacement in North Highline: Recommendations go public soon

April 1st, 2021 at 1:10 pm Posted in King County, White Center news | No Comments »

Announced today by King County:

Skyway-West Hill & North Highline Anti-Displacement Draft Recommendations Report-Back

Please join the Department of Community and Human Services and the Department of Local Services for an interactive community meeting on Saturday, April 10th from 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM to review and discuss the draft anti-displacement recommendations that will be presented to the King County Council later this year.

Registration is required and is now open at: eventbrite.com/e/anti-displacement-draft-recommendations-report-back-registration-145351188317. This meeting will help shape the county’s policy direction and investments in affordable housing in Skyway-West Hill. To learn more, check out: publicinput.com/anti-displacement You can find further information on the project at this website.

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VIDEO: County Executive Dow Constantine showcases jobs-program proposal in White Center visit

March 30th, 2021 at 1:25 pm Posted in King County, White Center news | No Comments »

Back in fall 2019, King County Executive Dow Constantine visited White Center (WCN coverage here) to talk about the newly launched King County Conservation Corps. Today, he returned to join them on patrol, and to talk about a broader job-creation program that’s part of his $600 million pandemic-relief budget addition.

The new proposal would create hundreds of jobs, expanding the KCCC and involving other county departments and divisions such as Roads and Parks; county Local Services director John Taylor joined him at this morning’s event. The KCCC, by the way, is a partnership with Uplift Northwest, previously known as the Millionair Club, and started as a six-month pilot project but is still going strong. The jobs program would cost an estimated $40 million of the $600 million pandemic-relief proposal, which is now in the hands of the County Council.

Other parts of the budget proposal:
*Continued Public Health Response/Vaccinations & COVID operations: $253 million

*Community Supports-rental assistance, childcare, behavioral health: $199 million

*Economic Recovery: $92 million

The full document is linked at the end of last week’s announcement.

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THURSDAY: Here’s why you want to be part of North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s April meeting

March 30th, 2021 at 10:04 am Posted in King County, North Highline UAC, White Center news | No Comments »

The month begins with North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s always-informative April meeting. Here’s the announcement:

The Opportunity to Be Informed, Be Involved and Be Heard!

Where? North Highline Unincorporated Area Council Meeting

When? Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 7 pm

How? Join Zoom Meeting: kingcounty.zoom.us/j/98750682577

Meeting ID: 987 5068 2577
Passcode (case sensitive): NHUAC2021
Unable to join via Zoom? Please Call 253 215 8782
Meeting ID: 987 5068 2577 Passcode: 956569157

As North Highline continues to have one of the highest COVID-19 positivity rates in the county, the virus continues to evolve. Last month’s NHUAC meeting was packed with information, but it was a month ago. What has changed? What should we know about the “Three V’s” – virus, variants, and vaccines? To answer these questions and more, we will be joined by Becky Reitzes, Educator Consultant with Public Health of Seattle & King County. Becky has been working on the COVID Community Mitigation Response since the beginning of the pandemic. Please bring your questions and join the discussion!

The shortage of adequate funding for capital projects, services and programs is an ongoing challenge in North Highline. As our local government, one of King County’s primary responsibilities is budgeting – deciding where and how our tax dollars are spent.

King County is taking a different approach to budgeting than it has used in the past. It is called Participatory Budgeting (PB). PB was first used in 1989 as an anti-poverty measure in Brazil where it successfully helped reduce child mortality by almost 30%. According to Participatory Budgeting Project’s website, “Participatory budgeting (PB) is a democratic process in which community members decide how to spend part of a public budget. It gives people real power over real money.” Imagine what North Highline can be if people with personal knowledge of our community make decisions about how tax dollars are spent in our community. Sounds like a perfect fit for a NHUAC meeting, doesn’t it? Now imagine that you or a neighbor was one of those decision-makers. Join us as John Taylor, Director of the Department of Local Services, explains how King County will approach this chance to expand democracy and opportunity in North Highline and how you could become part of the Community Investment Committee.

Our Storefront Deputy, Bill Kennamer, will join us once again to share what he and his fellow deputies have been working on in North Highline.

Knowledge is power.
Learn, share, and help make North Highline a better and healthier place.
April 1, 2021 at 7 pm – Tell a Neighbor!

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County Executive visiting White Center tomorrow

March 29th, 2021 at 5:58 pm Posted in King County, White Center news | No Comments »

If you’re in the vicinity of 15th and 100th tomorrow at midmorning, you might see a county delegation headed by County Executive Dow Constantine, talking with media before meeting up with the King County Conservation Corps. As the advance notice points out, the Corps “offers dignified employment opportunities to people experiencing homelessness and poverty while cleaning and removing graffiti from urban unincorporated areas.” While visiting, Constantine is expected to talk about hoping to expand the Corps as part of a job-creation program in his $600 million proposed emergency budget.

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King County Community Investment Committee – want to be part of it?

March 26th, 2021 at 5:08 pm Posted in King County, White Center news | Comments Off on King County Community Investment Committee – want to be part of it?

Just in from King County Local Services:

King County is recruiting community members to serve on a new Community Investment Committee.

This committee will help King County spend…

-$10 million on capital projects in Skyway-West Hill, North Highline, East Renton, Fairwood, and East Federal Way. These capital funds can be used for anything that needs to be built or replaced, such as buildings, sidewalks, bike lanes, landscaping, signs, and play structures.

-$1.3 million for services or programs in Skyway-West Hill and North Highline. This funding can be used for almost anything, such as after-school programs, job training, building maintenance, food, art supplies, and investments in play structures and sidewalks.

\The Community Investment Committee will design and carry out a budgeting process. The process will be centered on racial equity, will build on community strengths, and will address priorities that the community has identified. The committee will make sure that communities have control over what the money is spent on, so the projects that are funded will address real community challenges and have the most benefit.

King County approved funding for this project in its current two-year (2021-2022) budget, and will spend the funds as directed by the communities.

For more information and to apply: kingcounty.gov/depts/local-services/programs/urban-choices.aspx

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Fire callout in North Shorewood

March 22nd, 2021 at 10:25 am Posted in Fire, North Highline Fire District, White Center news | 1 Comment »

Thanks for the tip! Big callout this morning for a residential fire near 22nd SW and SW 104th. However, firefighters told us at the scene that it turned out to be a small fire, no injuries.

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Fireworks ban for unincorporated King County is one step closer to finalization, after committee approval

March 18th, 2021 at 5:04 pm Posted in King County, Safety, White Center news | 3 Comments »

As planned, the King County Council‘s Committee of the Whole took up the proposed unincorporated-area fireworks ban on Wednesday. With an amendment, it passed 5-4. The amendment by Councilmember Girmay Zahilay (read it here) has three key points:

-The first year this is in effect (2022), violators would be warned rather than fined

-Once fines do take effect, they would be $250, not $1,000

-A study would be required to see what it would take to get immediate, unarmed, non-police response to reports of violations

The fireworks ban, sponsored by our area’s Councilmember Joe McDermott, now goes to the full council for a final vote.

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King County Council to consider renter-rights proposal for unincorporated areas

March 16th, 2021 at 11:50 pm Posted in housing, King County, White Center news | Comments Off on King County Council to consider renter-rights proposal for unincorporated areas

Announced today:

A transformative tenant protections package has been officially introduced by two King County Councilmembers. The measure, headlined by capped move-in fees and new ‘just cause’ eviction criteria, was officially put forward today by Councilmembers Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Girmay Zahilay.

While King County residents look ahead to a brighter, post-pandemic future, many will continue to live in fear of losing their housing – or struggling to get housing at all.

The proposal, referred to the Community, Health and Housing Services Committee on Tuesday, aims to add a series of protections for both month-to-month and longer-term lease tenants.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic fallout have exacerbated our already difficult housing crisis — putting large numbers of renters on the brink of eviction,” Kohl-Welles said. “For many of our neighbors, it’s a thin line between having a roof overhead and spending the night in a shelter or in a tent on one of our sidewalks. And for many, it’s having to decide to pay for rent or pay for needed medical care. We know that housing is essential to stability for King County residents. By enhancing protections for renters, we can work on the front end to prevent even more people from entering homelessness.”

Key among the protections included is the establishment of “just causes” that must be satisfied before a landlord can terminate a month-to-month tenancy, begin eviction proceedings, or fail to renew a fixed-term tenancy. State law doesn’t currently include just cause provisions for most tenancies, and while a bill is moving through the state legislature to add requirements to the books, that proposal falls well short of the King County proposal.

“After decades of gentrification and a full year of COVID-19 hyper-charging regional housing instability, people are struggling to stay housed. We have to come together and give tenants the housing security needed to survive this crisis,” Zahilay said. “Evictions, especially those inflicted without specific cause or reasonable notice, will exacerbate our homelessness crisis, crime, and public health issues. The legislation introduced today by Councilmember Kohl-Welles and I will be a difference maker for those already struggling.”

In addition to adding the just cause requirement – a significant factor in avoiding a wave of individuals and families losing their housing once temporary protections triggered by the COVID -19 pandemic end – the proposal would add a series of protections for tenants in unincorporated King County, including:

Cap move-in, security and other fees and deposits and allow incremental payment
Require landlords to give up to 4 months’ notice for significant rent increases
Prohibit rent hikes in unsafe or unlivable housing
Allow tenants to adjust rent due date if they live on fixed income
Add protections against eviction over late rent
Prohibit landlords from requesting Social Security number for pre-rental screening
Landlords who violate any of the new protections would be liable for damages in court.

“King County’s homelessness crisis is already one of the worst in the nation. We know that most people who are evicted end up homeless, many of them sleeping unsheltered,” said Katie Wilson, general secretary of the Transit Riders Union. “This ordinance is a common-sense measure that will help to protect tenants from arbitrary evictions when the moratoriums are lifted, so that many more people don’t fall into homelessness.”

In 2019, while unincorporated King County saw more no-cause evictions than any other jurisdiction in King County, according to data shared by Edmund Witter, senior managing attorney with the King County Bar Association. While only 6.8% of all evictions were filed in unincorporated King County, that part of the county made up 20% of all no-cause evictions countywide.

An estimated 22% of households in unincorporated King County are renters, which means about 25,000 households would be impacted by the proposal.

As part of the new legislation, the Executive would set up a central phone number for tenants to report suspected violations and would have to create an outreach plan to educate residents about the new protections. A one-pager with more details is attached.

The legislation would take effect 90 days after full council approval.

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FIREWORKS BAN: County Council consideration next week

March 12th, 2021 at 8:52 pm Posted in King County, White Center news | 3 Comments »

As we reported last week, the County Council’s Committee of the Whole delayed its consideration of the bill to ban fireworks in unincorporated areas. Next Wednesday, it’s on the agenda, 9:30 am. As the preview from council staff notes: “If approved, it would still have to go before full council and then would have a one-year waiting period before it could take effect. It would not ban properly permitted fireworks displays or impact fireworks on tribal trust lands.” Read the bill here. If you want to comment, before or during the meeting, the agenda explains how.

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BACK TO SCHOOLS: Highline district to start phasing in in-person instruction tomorrow

March 10th, 2021 at 12:24 pm Posted in Highline School District, White Center news | Comments Off on BACK TO SCHOOLS: Highline district to start phasing in in-person instruction tomorrow

Thursday is a big day for public-school students in our area. Here’s the announcement from Highline Public Schools:

This Thursday, March 11 will be the first day in a school building ever for some of Highline Public Schools’ PreK and kindergarten students!

The next phase of hybrid instruction was assured last evening with teachers voting to ratify an agreement between Highline Education Association (HEA) and Highline Public Schools.

The start dates for the next phase of in-person instruction are:
March 11: PreK, kindergarten, grade 1, and K-12 Intensive Academic Center (IAC).
March 22: Grades 2 and 3
April 1: Grades 4 and 5

The transition back to school buildings began in November 2020 when students served in Integrated Learning Center (ILC) and Community Based Services (CBS) programs had the option to return in the hybrid model. In hybrid, morning and afternoon groups attend on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Elementary students will be on a similar half-day, four-day-per-week schedule. Students served by the K-12 Intensive Academic Center (IAC) program will be in school buildings longer days due to the structure of the program, which is integrated with general education Zoom classes.

“I am grateful to the district and HEA bargaining committees who worked tirelessly to arrive at a plan that prioritizes the safety of our students and staff and provides our students with the in-person learning that they need and deserve,” said Superintendent Susan Enfield.

“I value our students and staff, and I take very seriously my responsibility for their health and safety,” she said. “We can all be confident in the safety plans and protocols developed in collaboration with our labor partners and approved by our teachers.”
Now that education employees are eligible to be vaccinated, Highline staff have an added layer of protection. On Sunday, all Highline staff who are working or scheduled to work with students in person had the opportunity to be vaccinated. Thanks to a partnership with St. Anne Hospital, almost 1,000 people received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Nearly every Highline employee on the list to get a vaccination was able to get one. Staff are working with anyone who was missed to make sure they are vaccinated. There were enough doses on Sunday to vaccinate many other staff members, as well.
For more information about hybrid learning, please visit our website at: highlineschools.org/return-to-learn/hybrid-learning.

Additional back-to-school resources about transportation, safety expectations, school safety plan, health screening form, masks and more can be found at highlineschools.org/backtoschool.

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